Cincinnati, Ohio: The Gowdy family has accepted $240,000 to settle the claim of excessive force by 11-year-old Donesha Gowdy and the claim of her sister who witnessed the tasing by a Cincinnati police officer working at a local retailer on August 6, 2018. Donesha weighs 90 pounds and is 4’11” tall. She fell to the ground without breaking her fall. Her whole body convulsed as she involuntarily rolled over during the taser discharge. Both girls experienced severe trauma from the tasing and will receive treatment. The settlement must be approved by the Probate Court which will ensure that the funds are utilized only as approved by the Court. Donesha Gowdy wrote an apology to the retailer.
Use of Force on Juveniles. The investigation by Gerhardstein & Branch revealed that between January 1, 2013 through August 14, 2018, the City of Cincinnati Police Department tased 110 minors. All but 6 of the minors tased were black and 48 of the minors were between the ages of 11 and 15. Several of those tasings resulted from efforts to arrest youth suspected of shoplifting or other minor crimes. The family requested a broad review of the principles governing use of force on juveniles. The settlement does not include this review, but such a review has been anticipated as part of the ongoing Collaborative Refresh. The problem-solving team would look at the racial imbalance, trauma and overall force used against juveniles in order to make sure youth are policed with the least amount of force needed while protecting public safety.
Family attorney Al Gerhardstein says that, “Our investigation shows a pattern of excessive force against nonviolent young people. A thorough review of juvenile policing practices is needed. Donesha was only accused of taking snacks and a onesie. She has written an apology to the retailer. She should not have been subjected to such severe force.” The City of Cincinnati paid $220,000 and the retailer paid $20,000 toward the settlement.